Saturday, 2 June 2007

Flashback - How I Got Where I Am Today (RTP! #1)

In many ways, RTP! was something that sort of snuck up on me ...

I have memories of the 1983 screening of Black Orchid, but became a fan with the 1985 'repeat' run. I'd joined the NZDWFC in December 1989 (getting my first issue of TSV (#17) the following January) after my not-quite-yet Step-father spotted a flyer for the club at the Christchurch Central Library, and attended a few Christchurch Chapter meetings till they came to a halt with the fall out from WhoCon 1990. I can still vividly recall the meeting that was advertised in TSV #18. After that there were a few sporradic events (such as the two-day CyberCon 1993) and then the Chapter seemed to fade away as more time passed without the series making a comeback and many fans having new priorities in life (I on the other hand would have been at least ten years younger than most attendees and the organisers).

1996 and the series returned with the US TV Movie with the Pertwee Logo. There were two Christchurch meetings set up to screen the movie in June, one organised by Andrew Poulsen (co-founder of the NZDWFC and one-time editor of TSV, and the other by Wade Campbell. While Andrew's screening was made up of mostly the older crowd of Christchurch fans, Wade's was of the younger generation that I belonged to. However I unable to attend Wade's meeting due to a prior commitment, although Wade did later recount a little of the day in his column Wade's World in Telos #15 (April 1997):
Our first meeting was primarily to screen the abomination that was the TV Movie, but I hadn't planned on Mr 'Vanished Without a Trace' Andrew Poulsen having a screening as well. It was virtually too late to cancel ours and I had put too much effort into it to help Andrew. Andrew's was the day before ours so attendance was small at 7, but most of us came back, except Gavin who we think we see now and again, but never at the Chapter event. That day, the food from Hayden [Edwards'] kitchen was drawn to at least one person's stomach who no less tried to cover up his tracks at later meetings by handing out free TARDIS Tales ... whoops! We talked, enjoyed ourselves and traded a little (does the Editor [Jonathan Park] remember the Dalek foil incident?) and even got into discussions about White Darkness, the culprit being James. The day ended with Graham clutching his video collection shouting 'NO! They're mine!'
Although I missed out on this first meeting, I was able to attend the next (dragging my friend Josh along - one of the bad guys along with Corey in the infamous video adventure we recorded). This was still 1996 and as Jonathan had yet to throw the towel in over Telos, the fanzine that became RTP! was not yet a gleam in Matt and Wade's eyes. In the same column and issue Wade recounts:
The second meeting was at Hayden's again and attendance peaked at ten [we've since managed to reach about fifteen]. This time we actually interacted with each other. Somehow Resurrection Of The Daleks over-ran by three episodes. Ask James [Gibbons] what happened - we weren't watching! I volunteered to go and get the fish and chips when Phillip J Gray brought out an episode of The Tomorrow People, allowing enought time for it finish before I got back.
My memories of that Saturday afternoon, the one at which I met Matt and Wade for the first time (I had already met Graham at other meetings in the past like CyberCon 1993), is of it raining heavily and of the dark wood of Hayden's home giving everything a slightly dark and oppressive air. Still, despite none of us knowing each other very well (apart from Graham and Phillip) we were able to settle quickly into the mayhem that is now the Christchurch Chapter. Meeting cliches, such as putting on a Doctor Who video in order to watch one episode of a story, only to get talking and suddenly find it is 90 minutes later and James has sat inches from the TV and watched the entire story while the rest of us have talked (see Resurrection Of The Daleks, Planet Of Fire, The Invasion Of Time), were quickly set.

Matt and Wade might just have had some idea that Telos was coming to an abrupt end with the issue published in April 1997, because as early as April 19th, they already had a flyer advertising the publication of issue 1 of The Scrolls of Rassilon in May of that same year. Described as being 'For Cantabrians, by Cantabrians' and 'Featuring the cream of Canterbury writers: Phillip J Gray, Graham Muir, Julian Vance', this was Matt and Wade's attempt to fill the emerging gap caused by Telos folding. That Phillip never wrote for issue 1 (or any issue for that matter!) may or may not have been a contributing factor in delaying the issue till October 1997.

That April meeting, one of the last that Jonathan attended - there is a photo of the eight of us (Graham, Phillip, Matt, Wade, James, Hayden, Jonathan, myself) standing together somewhere, was the one where Matt and Wade pitched the coming fanzine to the rest of us. I promised a couple of pieces of fiction (written back when I was in Fourth Form at High School!) and a review for the issue. Others were less comitted to contibuting. The most obvious reason for the five month delay is easily spotted when you open issue 1 and see who contributed. Beyond artwork from Graham and Queenstown resident Garry Jackson, only the Magic Eye from Jamie Campbell and my own material were not done by Matt and Wade themselves.

I do recall the creation of the distinctive cover from Graham. It was at another Chapter meeting at Hayden's and after getting the rest of us to watch episodes 1 and 2 of The Space Museum, Graham was marched to the dining room table and watched like a hawk till he'd drawn the cover art and the picture of Saucer from page 17.

Issue 1 first went on sale (a snap at $2!) at the October Chapter meeting, possibly the last meeting we ever had at Hayden's place of residence, and a couple of photos from that meeting appeared in Issue 2, page 14 (myself in the top photo, Graham in bottom one). I purchased a copy, partly to help support the fanzine (something I'd possibly come too late to help with for Telos), partly to sooth my ego and have a copy of my published material, and partly because I'd been working on something for the next issue and the fanzine had to survive for it to ever see print (I'd never considered submitting it to TSV as I didn't think it would pass the censors) ...

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